Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

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whiteserenity
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Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#1 Post by whiteserenity » Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:57 pm

I hope this is the right place to post this but anyway, this is something I've noticed more and more in regards to VNs nowadays, especially those on Steam. Especially when it comes to VNs translated into English from other languages, devs aren't hiring editors or proofreaders to check their work. I don't understand the reasoning behind this. Is this due to laziness or cheapness or lack of funds? I find this inexcusable. I've read VNs where the construction of sentences in English is horrible and it is terribly painful to read them. I mean, if a book I purchased had such terrible construction, I'd immediately send it back where I bought it and demand a refund.

I'd like to hear your opinions on this and what you all think.
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#2 Post by Imperf3kt » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:32 pm

Its not just VNs, a lot of media seems to be coming from latin-america.
No offense to the people there, but my general experience with such creators is that English isn't their best language. Nor is it, even a language they're particularly fluent in.
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#3 Post by mikolajspy » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:17 am

It's not only in VN, if you take a look, most indie games on Steam (or other distributions) are made by non-native english speakers. It's not that bad if the creator knows english at some level. Some titles are clearly translated using Google Translate, that's the worst.

I think in most cases (that was with me) is
whiteserenity wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:57 pm
lack of funds
And consider that today not every game sells well. For indie developer it's better to cut funds on proofreader and fail with low-budget game, than invest much money and still fail.

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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#4 Post by whiteserenity » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:39 am

mikolajspy wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:17 am
It's not only in VN, if you take a look, most indie games on Steam (or other distributions) are made by non-native english speakers. It's not that bad if the creator knows english at some level. Some titles are clearly translated using Google Translate, that's the worst.

I think in most cases (that was with me) is
whiteserenity wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:57 pm
lack of funds
And consider that today not every game sells well. For indie developer it's better to cut funds on proofreader and fail with low-budget game, than invest much money and still fail.
Well, if it isn't a VN, I can consider poor English to be more acceptable since the gameplay should be more important in that case. I do understand that not all games sell well, but I think it's bad to cut out having a proofreader. That's pretty much a guarantee fail. I mean, sure, it's riskier to use a proofreader but then you'd have a higher quality product and that has a much better chance of selling well.
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#5 Post by Scribbles » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:56 am

sometimes I wonder if the DO hire a proof-reader.... but that proof-reader isn't as fluent as they present themselves to be? Though a lot of times it probably comes down to funding. For what it's worth, English is a VERY hard language to learn/master- though if they are charging money for their game they should -really- make sure the translations work well :-/
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#6 Post by whiteserenity » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:29 am

Scribbles wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:56 am
sometimes I wonder if the DO hire a proof-reader.... but that proof-reader isn't as fluent as they present themselves to be? Though a lot of times it probably comes down to funding. For what it's worth, English is a VERY hard language to learn/master- though if they are charging money for their game they should -really- make sure the translations work well :-/
Ahh that is a valid point. There are ways to find out if a proofreader is competent before hiring them onto the project. Of course, you can tell if a proofreader was even used by checking out the game's credits.
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#7 Post by Scribbles » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:27 am

whiteserenity wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:29 am
Ahh that is a valid point. There are ways to find out if a proofreader is competent before hiring them onto the project. Of course, you can tell if a proofreader was even used by checking out the game's credits.
that is true, I was just thinking if you didn't speak the language it would be hard to know if it was translated properly
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#8 Post by Donmai » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:40 pm

I believe this thread was started because of an outstanding Russian game that was recently released, which includes an English translation. I tend to agree with everything Scribbles said here. Finding translators or proofreaders is not that difficult for us, non-English speakers. Evaluating their work ourselves isn't possible at all. BTW sorry for any bad construction of English sentences in this post.
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#9 Post by Imperf3kt » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:12 am

Donmai wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:40 pm
I believe this thread was started because of an outstanding Russian game that was recently released, which includes an English translation. I tend to agree with everything Scribbles said here. Finding translators or proofreaders is not that difficult for us, non-English speakers. Evaluating their work ourselves isn't possible at all. BTW sorry for any bad construction of English sentences in this post.
You could have fooled me, I had no idea English wasn't your native tongue. You always type so fluently with no noticeable errors.
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#10 Post by whiteserenity » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:30 am

Donmai wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:40 pm
I believe this thread was started because of an outstanding Russian game that was recently released, which includes an English translation. I tend to agree with everything Scribbles said here. Finding translators or proofreaders is not that difficult for us, non-English speakers. Evaluating their work ourselves isn't possible at all. BTW sorry for any bad construction of English sentences in this post.
I'm going to address this but first, I wouldn't assume anything. I have seen more and more VNs lately translated into English in which the translation is just awful and painful to read. I can name some examples if you'd like but one VN that comes to mind is Osozaki. I can link it although it is on Steam so doing a search there should be sufficient. (I was gifted this game btw, so I wouldn't have ever willingly purchased it myself.) Recently, I played that game and the English sentences made me cringe. It was obvious that the developer didn't hire a proofreader or editor at all, so yes, there are more and more VNs out there and it wasn't a certain trigger that made me create this thread in the first place. I don't usually assume anything although if I think of something, I ask to prevent any misunderstandings.

As to your other comment about not being able to evaluate the work not being possible, I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one. Perhaps, for SOME devs, that may be the case, but that isn't true for ALL devs for whom English isn't their native language. A while back, I applied for an editor position and I was given a mini-test to see how well I could edit a bit of text. The dev's English isn't the greatest but it is competent enough that he/she could figure out how well someone could proofread.
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#11 Post by Frullo » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:54 am

For low budget or semi-professional projets, I guess the developer just underestimate the importance of editing/proof-reading, especially for a text-centric medium as a VN. Or just overestimate their english proficiency.
Personally, as a non-native english speaker who studied the language for a long time and lived in a english-speaking country for a while, I tried to translate some scenes from my VN and I thought "Wow, this looks good enough, maybe I won't need help for this". Then I tried to submit a part of it for proof-reading to a native speaker and professional editor. Like f**k I didn't need help lol.

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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#12 Post by andalusian » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:17 am

i have noticed russian games in particular have bad translations, i wonder why that is.

russia may not have very many english speakers, but not very few either. it should still be much easier to find a competent english speaker in russia (even if they are just 1 in 100 people, it would be more than you would ever need), than to find a good specialist in any other field required for game development.

perhaps they just do not value localization (and quality assurance) very highly, for cultural reasons? because creative and clever matters like ideas, programming and art are more "worthy"?
For what it's worth, English is a VERY hard language to learn/master
i doubt that. my own english is, of course, not very good. but i only ever see native english speakers say that "english is hard to learn and master". literally everyone else in the world seems to agree that english is very easy to learn and master. what languages are you comparing it to?

chinese is a language that is very hard to learn and master, and the difference in difficulty between english and chinese seems objective to me.

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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#13 Post by Zylinder » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:57 am

andalusian wrote:i doubt that. my own english is, of course, not very good. but i only ever see native english speakers say that "english is hard to learn and master". literally everyone else in the world seems to agree that english is very easy to learn and master. what languages are you comparing it to?

chinese is a language that is very hard to learn and master, and the difference in difficulty between english and chinese seems objective to me.
I think it's the way the learning curve is formed. I speak both languages and have since I was a child. English is easy to learn and be proficient in, but the nuances at higher levels -- the twists and turns of grammar and colloquialism -- is harder to grasp. A lot of sentences can 'sound' correct but be very wrong. Chinese on the other hand, is hard in the sense that there is very much to memorize. Once you do get it down however, the sentences are mostly straightforward swap-and-replace affairs with the occasional idiom/metaphor... Unless you're going into literature, of course. That's another can of worms.

I think most non-native devs who try to wing it are at a proficient level of English. Good enough to write and read in it, but not yet at the level where they can spot odd grammar and properly translate with all the meaning and the language's natural cadence intact. Hence the wooden tones, and sometimes outright wrong language.

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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#14 Post by YonYonYon » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:36 am

andalusian wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:17 am
russia may not have very many english speakers, but not very few either. it should still be much easier to find a competent english speaker in russia than to find a good specialist in any other field required for game development
lol no. Artists, programmers, music composers? There are plenty of them. They're even good. English speakers, who can understand all literary nuances to look over your text? These are rare. And pretty much every VN developer from here makes VNs on their spare time with a team of friends, so searching for someone like that will be costly.

So, as stated above, it's mostly because of money + what Zylinder said about people who can understand English well but can't write fiction without sounding weird.

Tho, I guess it doesn't excuse the ones who sell their games for money.
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Re: Seems like more VN devs aren't hiring editors/proofreaders nowadays

#15 Post by PMscenarios » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:56 pm

It has never been about fluency - this is one of the biggest mistakes ppl make when they get a friend who's fluent in English to do their proof reading - it's about understanding what the writer is trying to convey.
If you have someone go through your script and just change misspellings and grammar mistakes they're doing you no favours, especially when the original writer does not have English as their first language.

Some mistakes are easy to recognize - preposition errors come up again and again in VNs, the English language has some rather troublesome ways of using "in" and "on" when in reference to the size of the place/plane one is in/on.
- Sentence structure is often affected by the writer's mother tongue, for example English and German word order is in many cases different depending on the clause of the sentence.
- Some second language writers seem to struggle especially with verb conjugation, as most languages have their own way of dealing with tenses and the infinitive.
- The definite article.

But the more difficult to recognize errors are when a writer uses the wrong word for the situation they're describing, or misunderstanding/misusing an expression. This is where it's necessary that the proof-reader/editor not only reviews the work for errors, but also recognizes what the writer was intending to say.

More than fluency, what you really need in a good proof reader/editor is -critical and literary analysis- the ability to perceive what the writer is trying to say, why they're using the expressions they are and understand both the voice of the writer and of the characters.
If the proof reader has a grasp of the original language of the writer it's even better, as they then have a better chance at recognizing and looking out for mistakes common for that language.

As someone who cannot turn off my analytical propensity, I find most VNs suffer from a lack of communication between the writer and the proof reader/editor, and have played very few where I didn't have critiques on the language by the end of it.
Last edited by PMscenarios on Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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